Raspberry Buttermilk Cake

*I made this cake again this weekend (6/6) and it came out great!  No sinking!  I made a couple of changes.  First, Smitten originally wrote 1 teaspoon of vinegar to 1 cup of milk to make buttermilk.  Turns out that you need 1 TABLESPOON.  Then I bought brand new baking soda and powder.  I also avoided putting any berries in the center.  I still had to bake longer than 25 minutes.  I think closer to 30 – 35, with foil on top towards the end to avoid more browning.  I only made blueberry cakes and I think I like it better than raspberry.  I still feel that 1 cup of blueberries was too much for the cake.   I wish I had taken a picture of the berry placement, but basically, I just scattered on top with some spaces in between and that used up closer to 3/4 cup of blueberries.

We have been attending some friends’ Memorial Day BBQ for the past 9 or 10 years.  They decided to mix it up a bit this year and asked people to bring food depending on the first letter of their first name.  Going by DH’s name meant a dessert.  After some serious thought and food blog searching, I found the perfect dessert on Smitten Kitchen.  Raspberry Buttermilk Cake, adapted from Gourmet, June 2009 issue.  Light and summery!

I’ve mentioned that I’m not a baker.  I have made some serious effort in trying to change that.  But this past weekend’s results clearly show that I’m not quite there.  I made four cakes, two for the BBQ, one for my family and one to give to Baker Mom.  I can’t tell you how disappointed I was when my first two cakes started sinking in the middle as they cooled. 

Sinking cake
Sinking cake!

 You can’t really see it from the picture but center of the cake had completely sunk by taste time.  I did some googling and found that it was probably due to the center being under baked.  Another reason given was old baking power.  Since there was nothing I could do about old powder to an already mixed cake, I  nervously decided to bake the next two cakes longer.  And then I nervously waited watched for signs of sinking as the cakes cooled.

Unsunk cake!
Unsunk cake!

 They looked OK, albeit a bit too brown.  I nervously brought them to the BBQ and nervously waited for the first person to try a slice.  Fortunately for my nervous disposition, the cake was declared delicious!  Phew.

The cake calls for raspberry, but you can replace with any berries.  Commentators on Smitten mentioned cherries, strawberries, and even chopped rhubarb.  I made two raspberries, one blueberry and one mixed with both.  The cakes didn’t look as pretty as the picture on Smitten but they were really yummy. 

As for the two sunk ones, I just cut out the center before eating.  I didn’t give one to Baker Mom because it seemed wrong to bring a cake with the middle missing or to bring the whole cake and tell them to only eat around the edges!

Raspberry Buttermilk Cake

*Inspired from Smitten Kitchen and Adapted from Gourmet


Time: 15 min prep, 20 – 25 min cooking

Serves: 6


  •  1cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 stick unsalted butter, softened
  • 2/3 cup plus 1 1/2 tablespoons sugar, divided
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 cup well-shaken buttermilk
  • 1 cup fresh raspberries (about 5 oz)


  • Preheat oven to 400°F with rack in middle. Butter and flour a 9-inch round cake pan.
  • Whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
  • Beat butter and 2/3 cup sugar with an electric mixer at medium-high speed until pale and fluffy, about 2 minutes, then beat in vanilla. Add egg and beat well.
  • At low speed, mix in flour mixture in 3 batches, alternating with buttermilk, beginning and ending with flour, and mixing until just combined.
  • Spoon batter into cake pan, smoothing top. Scatter raspberries evenly over top and sprinkle with remaining 1 1/2 Tbsp sugar.
  • Bake until cake is golden and a wooden pick inserted into center comes out clean, 25 to 30 minutes. Cool in pan 10 minutes, then turn out onto a rack and cool to warm, 10 to 15 minutes more. Invert onto a plate.

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